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How to Paraphrase and Avoid Plagiarism
Duration: (9:19)
User: n/a - Added: 11/4/13

Dear students,

Each semester, several students commit unintentional plagiarism on their first Journal Article Review (JAR).  Please carefully read the article I sent you "How to Avoid Plagiarism."  I recommend that you download the article and carefully study it.  I would also recommend that you print out and study the Summary section of my Sample Journal Article Review.  In this email, I want to highlight information on the topic of paraphrasing.

Most students have never had training on how to properly paraphrase.  They think that if you just change a few words from the source then you are paraphrasing the author's work.  Unfortunately, this is not correct.


Below, I have highlighted some basic information on paraphrasing.


  1. Paraphrasing Defined:  Paraphrasing refers to “taking a specific passage from another source and putting it in your own words” (PWWI, n.d., Slide 9).  When you paraphrase the words or thoughts of someone else, you must provide a properly formatted citation (PWWI, n.d.,  Slide 14).
  2. Avoid Problems Associated with Paraphrasing:  Paraphrasing involves: reading and understanding the meaning of what the author is trying to say; putting the author’s  thoughts into your own words; and, using your own sentence structures.  To avoid problems with paraphrasing, follow these “Four Rs” of paraphrasing (Principles of Paraphrasing, n.d., Module 3, Slide 10): 


The Four Rs of Paraphrasing





                  Recheck (to make sure you have not directly quoted)


(Harvard Graduate School of Education, n.d., Module 3, Slide 10)



Stated differently, correct paraphrasing involves:

 Paraphrasing Involves:

  • Understanding a passage
  • Internalizing the meaning of the text
  • Restating the important points in your own voice


(Harvard Graduate School of Education n.d., Module 2, Slide 5)




  1. Paraphrasing Doesn’t Just Refer to “Words”:  Remember, paraphrasing pertains to more than just revising the words that someone else wrote; paraphrasing also pertains to revising the ideas contained in the words of others.

If you attempt to paraphrase ideas from another author/source, you must still provide a citation that specifies the source of the ideas you are paraphrasing.  Remember, you must provide an in-text citation for any idea that is based on something you read from another source—this includes ideas you are paraphrasing.

  1.  Use In-Text Citations for Paraphrased Material:  To avoid plagiarism, provide an in-text citation for each and every sentence you write that contains paraphrased ideas (in whole or in part) that are not your own (PWWI, n.d., Slide 14).


Dr. Campbell